“One of these days, I’m going to teach you how to cook,” I offered, as playtime wound down and I begged off to go start dinner.
“Okay, Mimi, what can I do?” my four-year-old granddaughter quickly returned.
As she helped wash the kale, she surprised me as she spontaneously put a piece in her mouth to taste it. It didn’t make it past her palette, but I was impressed that she tried it. She’s a picky eater. Usually it takes rewards (AKA bribes), withholding her favored foods (AKA threats), and other such crazy antics to get her to try something new.
“Don’t put it back in the bowl if you don’t like it, put it in that side of the sink.” She promptly took me up on the suggestion and spit it into the sink. Following her lead, I tried a piece, too, straight from the colander.
(Ever done that?)
Together, we agreed kale tastes pretty nasty by itself.
“Well, it will taste much better once we get the dressing on it,” I reassured her, knowing full well she didn’t believe me.
She watched as I chopped it finely, asking “What else can I do, Mimi?”
“You can help me squeeze the lemons to make the dressing!”
She remembered squeezing lemons for lemonade last summer. What a memory, I marveled. I wondered if neural pruning would snip that memory as she passes through this critical phase of brain development.
“Be careful, now, hold it down so it doesn’t squirt in your eye.”
All proceeded nicely with this process until she dropped the lemon into the juice, and, wouldn’t you know it? A drop of lemon juice splashed right in her eye.
Several blood-curdling screams later, as we washed her eye and gave her a towel, she ran upstairs to change, apparently more mortified that her pirate outfit got wet than that her eye suffered a shockIng sting.
Assured she was fine, I peeled and diced the garlic, crushed it with salt using the end of tongs (the pestle is missing from our mortar and pestle), added the oil and lemon juice and tossed it into the diced kale.
Adjusting for taste with a few dashes of bread dip seasoning made for a simple but powerful transformation. I could have added more to this simple salad, but for tonight, it was enough.
Hubby reminded me at dinner that he likes my kale salad better than any we’ve had in restaurants. Hmmm, I guess I should post it on my recipe blog, then, thought I. It was a bit too late for a lovely photo, as we had almost devoured it by then. Here’s what was left:
Unfortunately, as anticipated, granddaughter wouldn’t try it again, so she didn’t get to experience the transformation from Yucky Kale to Super Kale salad. Instead we heard the usual, “I don’t like that!,” and it was a little more difficult for me to try persuading her with the old “You don’t know if you like it unless you try it” response.
Kale really is a super food; you just have to find ways to bring out it’s best side so it gets past your inner picky eater. Here’s the recipe, in case you need it spelled out. Experiment with additives, changes, to suit your taste:
a bunch of dark green leafy kale (remove spines, dice, enough to fill a large salad bowl, there’s some shrinkage when dressing absorbs)
2 lemons (juice of)
4 cloves garlic
1 -2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
bread dip seasoning
crush garlic with salt
add oil and lemon, stirring into the crushed garlic and salt blend
pour over kale, toss
season to taste with bread dip seasoning (a few shakes)
toss again and set aside
flavors improve as salad rests in dressing while dinner cooks
toss again just before serving
If you would like to read more on the amazing qualities of kale, here you go:
For a different sort of fare, see: